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Car Tales: Alfa Romeo - Che Bella Macchina!

“Alfa Romeo is a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile. The real essence of Alfa defies description. It can be compared to those irrational movements of the spirit that sometimes occur in man, and for which there is no logical explanation. We are in the realm of sensations, passions, things that have more to do with the heart than with the head.”
‘So spoke Orazio Satta Puliga, the Italian car firm’s head of design in 1946, as Italy tremblingly attempted to pull itself out of the disaster of World War 2.

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‘Behind where my father lived in Notting Hill in London, there was an Alfa Romeo dealership. I only had to look out of his window to see an ever-changing array of fabulous vehicles – mainly Spiders, I now realize.
‘My dad would tell me how his best friend had had a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Stepnose in that mustard color that seems to so fit that classic model. Together they would cruise in it, going out to have a good time, hopefully to find some interesting new girlfriends.
‘There is no shortage of seductive Alfa Romeos – sometimes it seems it’s all contained within that second name – and of late they have been very much on my mind. At Beverly Hills Car Club the other day I acquired a fabulous, mint condition 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale. It is a really gorgeous car, in an exciting color combination of red with a blue interior. 
‘The vehicle comes equipped with a manual transmission, dual Weber carburetors, windscreen deflector, chrome bumpers, chrome exhaust tip, steel wheels, Alfa Romeo hub caps, and spare tire.
‘And we are proud to offer this Alfa Sprint Speciale to any enthusiast or collector who appreciates this great marque. It is an extremely sought-after Alfa Romeo that is mechanically sound. That should hardly be surprising: the gentleman I bought it from had had his own Alfa Romeo dealership, with every car-care facility always available to him.
‘The legend of Alfa Romeo started in 1910 when Cavalier Ugo Stella acquired the shares of Societa Italiana Automobili Darraq, the Italian plant of a French car maker. Although cars were first produced in Naples, the factory was later moved to Portella, close to the northern Italian city of Milan. In 1915 the factory changed its name to ALFA, which was short for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili which translates as Lombardian Car Factory.
‘As World War I was erupting, the banks holding A.L.F.A.’s debt entrusted the running of the company to Nicola Romeo, an entrepreneur from Naples. During the war, the company’s factory produced compressors, ammunition, and aircraft engines. When automotive production resumed, the company was renamed Alfa Romeo and the logo was updated accordingly.
‘But it took another war, World War 2, for Alfa Romeo to transition from bespoke, coach-built luxury cars to series-production sports cars and sedans powered mostly by economical four-cylinder engines.
‘The romance of the Alfa Romeo brand name has truly endured, showing the world that great design can be so eloquently expressed in a modest city car. When the Giulietta was introduced in 1954, designed for Bertone by Giorgetto Giugiaro, it set the template: through the Giulietta Alfa Romeo established the ‘small car, big performance’ formula which would characterize the marque’s finest offerings from then on. Alfa’s classic twin-cam four was downsized to 1,290ccc for the Giulietta, gaining an alloy cylinder block in the process.
‘The original Bertone-styled Sprint Coupé was soon joined by the Berlina saloon model and the open-topped Spider versions. In 1957 came the model now recognized as the ultimate Giulietta – the Sprint Speciale – which was the first of the new 101-Series cars.
‘Built on a slightly shorter wheelbase than the standard Sprint, and again the work of Bertone, the sensuously curved ‘SS’ came with a five-speed gearbox and a top speed of 125mph. Aerodynamically efficient and very powerful for its size, the SS proved highly successful in 1,300cc class racing the world over.
‘A mere 1,366 had been produced by the time the model was superseded in 1963.
‘So the rare Giulietta that Beverly Hills Car Club has acquired will be highly prized by Alfa Romeo connoisseurs.
-Alex Manos, Owner

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